Fourteen members of the athletic strengthening organization of the University of Idaho asked the State Board of Education on May 14 that dismissed the president of the university, Chuck Staben.
On Friday, the State Board announced that Staben's stay will end after the 2018-19 school year – the last year of his contract. The board held two executive sessions to deal with personnel matters last week.
The signatories of the letter to the board included the president (Mark Boatman) and the first vice president (Mike Mai) of the Vandal Scholarship Fund, the group's driving force.
"We have lost all confidence, faith and confidence in the ability of President Chuck Staben to lead the University of ldaho," the letter said. "Their lack of leadership, poor management and poor political decisions have damaged the relationship between the administration of the University of ldaho and its faculty, students, alumni and good citizens of the state of ldaho … We believe it is imperative and in the best interests from the University of Idaho to involve new leaders who will be dedicated to developing a plan to rebuild the university and help it move in a positive direction. "
The State Board of Education's press release said that Staben's contract would not be renewed by mutual agreement. Your contract runs until June 15, 2019 and pays $ 385,230 per year.
Staben's planned departure is the latest development in a tumultuous spring for the vandal community.
Athletic Director Rob Spear is in 60 days, paid administrative license. Staben dropped Spear out in April and hired two independent investigators to investigate how the athletic department handled the sexual assault allegations, particularly three against a single soccer player in 2012-13. The student senate of ASUI passed a resolution in April calling for Spear's resignation.
An athlete accused of rape last fall also completed the school year as an active member of the athletic department. And on Friday it was reported that diving coach Jim Southerland has been under administrative license since April due to an interim suspension imposed by the US Center. for SafeSport and USA Diving.
"(Staben) has strengthened the university's formation and response with respect to Title IX issues during his term," said a university press release. "A review of past responses to allegations of sexual assault within the athletic department is ongoing and unrelated to this decision." A final report from outside reviewers is expected soon. "
Staben was not available for interviews. The members of the State Board of Education declined to comment through their spokesperson.
McKenzie MacDonald, who served as president of ASUI last year and graduated this month, said she enjoyed working with Staben and was surprised by Friday's announcement.
"He brought a good vision to the university and I thought he really cared about giving the students a good experience," he said. "He was a pretty good defender for us."
With Staben's planned departure, the State Board now faces vacancies at its two most important universities. The board recently decided to expand its search for a president at Boise State beyond the initial finalists. The council announced on Friday that it would hire a new company that would lead both searches.
The presidential change could be added to an unstable time on the Moscow campus.
"There was a bit of noise on campus towards the end of the school year," MacDonald said. "When you have a transition like this and you bring someone new to a position like this, you are potentially bringing a new vision, a new focus for the efforts at the university, which has the potential to affect the student experience."
Staben's complaints include his decision to bring Idaho football to the Big Sky Conference of the Football Subdivision, look for a job in New Mexico, handle Spear's situation, fund athletics and the recent announcement of The Vandals may have to cut women's soccer, women's swimming and diving and men's golf if they can not correct the budget deficit.
Boosters wore anti-Staben hats at a recent golf event in the Treasure Valley.
Boatman and Mai provided a statement to the Idaho statesman on Staben's planned departure.
"We agree and appreciate the decision of the State Board of Education," the statement said. "The last three years have been filled with many polarization problems, now is the time for Vandal's alumni, fans and stakeholders to join in. There are many challenges facing our great university and sports department. We believe that by joining together and working together we can be defeated. "
Staben acknowledged several controversies by pointing to success stories in an email sent to the university community on Friday. He mentioned rising research expenses of $ 95.6 million in fiscal year 2014 to $ 109.5 million in fiscal year 2017, boost in fundraising to build a new basketball arena and a project to build the "largest and most advanced dairy research in the country. "
"While this is difficult, I want you to know that I am proud of what we have achieved together and look forward to the challenges and successes we will have next year," Staben wrote in the email to faculty, staff and students. "Since I assumed the presidency four years ago, we have steadily increased enrollment and our retention rate is the highest in the state, research expenditures have increased and the impact of those dollars has burgeoned. develop a clear path forward.
"There have also been challenges. My decision to seek a presidency at another university caused a distraction. The strategic evaluation of our programs and units during the prioritization of the program was difficult. The decision to join our soccer program with the Big Sky Conference was, understandably, charged with excitement and conflict. "
Staben arrived in Idaho on March 1, 2014. The university produced a strategic plan until 2025 that It includes a strategy to reverse the decline in enrollment, enrollment has increased over the past two years, and Idaho has the highest retention rate in the first-to-second-year state (82 percent), Staben wrote.
Staben was rector at the University of South Dakota from 2008 to 2014. He was a professor of biology, department chair and associate vice president of research at Kentucky from 1989 to 2008.
"The council and President Staben are Agree that this is the appropriate course to take and your contract expires. next spring, it will not be renewed, "State Board President Linda Clark said in a prepared statement." President Staben has led the University of Idaho since 2014 and, on behalf of the board, I thank him for his service and I wish him the best. The board will now focus on finding the next leaders for the University of Idaho and the State of Boise. "
Staben will probably be in a position to decide the fate of Spear.
" Decisions on the The leadership of the athletic department will be managed at the university, "said Mike Keckler, spokesman for the State Board of Education.